Multi Hand Blackjack

One of the most enticing card games is the reason why almost every casino offers it. It has been a centre of attention for many years due to the challenging nature of its rules.

Nowadays players have the chance to enjoy not only the classic game but also its many variations which are available in a number of casinos as some of them have become just as popular as the classic blackjack.

This impressive number of versions gives players the opportunity to play their favourite card game every time in a different form which guarantees high level of excitement and challenge.

However, it is worth mentioning that they should always prepare themselves for a particular version accordingly by adjusting the basic strategy to the game and the casino rules and getting familiar with its and specifications. This way they will reduce their money losses to minimum and will be able to completely enjoy the new version.

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One very famous variation among fans of the game is the Multi hand Blackjack due to the fact that it allowsplayers to play more than one hand which makes the game even more enticing. It is perfect for adventurous gamblers who love playing the classic game but want to try something new, more interesting and exciting.

Even though this version can be found in some brick and mortar casinos, it is most often played online due to the fact that players can take their time to consider their moves without rushing, something which is impossible in a casino setting.

Rules of Multi Hand Blackjack

The major rules and principles of Multi Hand Blackjack are the same as in the classic Blackjack which works in favour of the players as there is no need to learn new rules from scratch. The objective is to form a total as close as possible to twenty one without surpassing this number and the cards are valued in the same way as they are in the classic game. Players compete against the dealer and should make their decisions in accordance with his up card and the total of a particular hand.

The major difference in this version is that players have the chance to make different moves and place more bets by playing more than one hand. This variation allows them to have a maximum of five hands instead of one and players are given the power to decide exactly how many at the beginning of the game.

Of course, the exact maximum number of supported hands is variation-specific. The multi-hand blackjack releases of some software suppliers, like Betsoft and Play’n GO, for example, capacitate wagering on a maximum of three betting spots at a time rather than five.

During the session, all of them are played individually and players’ wagers are not required to be equal to one another. Each hand is a separate one and
should be treated as such, regardless of the number of hands involved. You play the hands one after the other, starting from the one dealt to the first-base spot and proceeding to the left, all the way to third base.

In most casinos, the additional rules of this version deprive players of the option to surrender but they allow them to take insurance against the dealer’s ace. Usually, multiple decks are involved in the game and the payout for Blackjack is the standard one of 3/2.

It is impossible to list concrete rules since these vary wildly depending on the landbased casino or the online variation one plays. Some dealers must hit soft 17 while others are bound to stand on all 17.

This tendency extends itself to the payouts, the dealer’s peeking, the doubling rules, the deck number, the maximum number of permitted splits, and the availability of the surrender option. It is also possible to find multi-hand blackjack that plays under the European ruleset where the dealer does not use hole cards. It is always best to double-check them before you play.

There may be discrepancies in the rules on doubling, splitting, resplitting, and surrendering as you shall see shortly. Some multi-hand variants offer late surrender whereas others do not support this as an option.

Similarly, some versions that support the multiple-hand format allow for doubling on any two-card hands while others restrict this move to totals 9 through 11. All of these peculiarities should be considered in advance in the process of choosing what multi-hand blackjack game to play.

The format allows for a greater pace of play and higher betting dynamics. Therefore, players should do their best to find the games offering them the best playing conditions and the lowest house edges. This is because playing multiple hands per round might cause the house edge to deplete your blackjack bankroll faster if you are not an advantage player.

Online Variations of Multi-Hand Blackjack

The trouble with landbased casinos is that you might sometimes arrive at the floor and go to your favourite blackjack table only to find there is not a single vacant seat. This can be particularly annoying if you are keen on playing several betting spots at a time. You will experience no such issues if you transition to playing multiple-hand blackjack from the comfort of your home at a regulated online casino.

A smorgasbord of software suppliers cater to the needs of blackjack fans looking for more action with authentic releases that support playing either three or five hands at a time. Of course, the graphics quality and the features are game-specific but most releases do offer a decent level of authenticity and various options for customisation.

Players usually have a choice from several speed levels for the pace of card dealing. Some suppliers like NetEnt allow you to pick from a nice range of background tracks while others like Playtech enable you to change the felt’s colour of your chosen multi-hand table.

Many multi-hand blackjack variations on the web are also equipped with useful features like displaying the last ten hands of the dealer, your maximum win, and the number of bets you have made during an individual session. Of course, players are also catered to with different chip denominations although the minimum and maximum bet limits are table-specific.

If you prefer to flat bet and place the same amount of chips on all hands you play during a single round, you will find the Rebet function of great use. The table below contains all the essential information about five of the most popular multi-hand blackjack games, available for online play.

Side-by-Side Comparison of 5 Popular Multi-Hand BJ Games You Can Play Online
Supplier NetEnt Microgaming Pragmatic Play Play’n GO Felt Playtech
Name Blackjack Classic Multi-Hand Blackjack Classic Multi-Hand Blackjack Multi-Hand Blackjack 6 in 1 Blackjack Blackjack Surrender
Hands 3 hands 5 hands 3 hands 3 hands 3 hands 5 hands
Decks 6 decks 5 decks 8 decks 6 decks 6 decks 6 decks
S17/H17 S17 S17 S17 S17 S17 S17
Limits £1 – £500 Varies £1 – £100 £1 – £50 £0.10 – £500 Varies
Peek A, 10 ENHC A, 10 A, 10 A, 10 A, 10
BJ Odds 3 to 2 3 to 2 3 to 2 3 to 2 3 to 2 3 to 2
DAS Available Unavailable Available Available Available Available
RS No No No No No No
HSA No Yes No No Yes No
LS No No No No No YES
RTP 99.59% 99.42% 99.51% 99.54% 99.63% 99.66%

Who Should Play Multi-Hand Blackjack?

Online casinos offer an abundance of options to blackjack players where multi-hand play is concerned. The question arises who should switch to playing more than one betting spot and why? The general rule of thumb is that players should increase their action to more than one hand only on condition they have an edge over the house during the current round.

Basic strategists and people who play by intuition do not have an advantage at the blackjack tables. Sometimes you might see them spread their bets to two or more hands because they mistakenly assume the shoe is “hot”. In reality, the casino holds exactly the same long-term advantage no matter how many hands they play.

Another detrimental thing that occurs when such players increase their action to two or more hands is that they end up playing a greater number of hands per hour. For instance, when you join two other patrons at the blackjack table and play single-handed, you will go through approximately a hundred rounds each hour, which makes for 100 hands. By contrast, when you spread to two hands instead, you will generate hourly action of 160 hands over the course of 80 rounds.

As basic strategy players play at a disadvantage, they end up exposing a greater portion of their blackjack bankrolls to the built-in house edge by playing multiple hands. The more hands you play per round, the more money you will lose. However, the amount you invest per hand is also of importance.

Examples of BS Players’ Expectation for One and Two Hands per Round

Assume, for example, that you play one hand and are flat betting £10 on average with a house edge of 0.50% and you play roughly a hundred rounds per hour. In this instance, your average theoretical loss per hour would be -0.005 x £10 x 100 = -£5.

In another scenario, you play two hands of £5 each per round and go through 80 rounds per hour with two other seated players at your table. This would increase your hourly action to 160 hands but your average expected loss would decrease to -0.005 x £5 x 160 = -£4.

It follows that the hourly expected losses of a basic strategy player actually decline when they spread their action to two betting spots with lower bets rather than placing higher wagers on a single hand. However, the decline in the losses is based on the number of fellow players seated at a given table.

Here is yet another scenario for comparison. Let’s assume, instead of decreasing your bet from £10 to £5 when you play two hands, you decide to keep your wagers the same as when you play a single hand per round. In this case, you will increase your action per round to £20, betting £10 on each of the two hands.

This translates into higher hourly expected losses because you expose more money at risk each round. If you play this way, your hourly expected value drops to -0.005 x £10 x 160 = -£8. It makes sense that a basic strategy player should abstain from wagering this way in multi-hand blackjack. The same tendencies can be observed when you bet £30 per single hand or play three £10 hands per round.

You Play Multiple Hands vs. the Same Dealer Hand

At first glance, it is intuitive for one to think that the fluctuations in their bankroll would be equal regardless of whether they wager £10 on a single hand or £5 on two hands within the same round. After all, there is still £10 in action per round. Nonetheless, we should also take into account the fact that you are still competing against the same dealer hand no matter how many hands you play simultaneously.

Respectively, you are likely to beat a weak dealer with a small upcard and win two bets within a single round. Unfortunately, the opposite scenario is also possible. A dealer with a strong upcard might end up killing two birds with one stone, figuratively speaking, causing you to lose two hands in one round. The gist of it is that betting less on two (or more) hands increases the likelihood of your bankroll lasting longer, compared to betting the same amount on a single hand per round.

Multiple Hands and Advantage Play

Things are rather different for those who play blackjack at an advantage against the house and count cards. Such players can actually increase their hourly expectation by spreading to two or more hands. This normally happens whenever the count is positive and favours the player rather than the dealer. It also helps reduce variance and one’s level of risk.

You might be surprised, but betting on multiple hands is also beneficial to card counters whenever the count becomes negative, i.e. when the remaining composition of the shoe/deck favours the house. When this is the case, advantage players would spread to two or more betting spots with minimum wagers. The purpose is to deplete the shoe of the small cards and regain their advantage with more player-friendly high cards.

Advantages of Multi Hand Blackjack

On the one hand, one of the advantages of Multi Hand Blackjack is that it allows players to make bigger profit as they will be able to wager more by placing separate bets on each hand. Moreover, doubling down is also permitted which increases their chances of achieving the desired result significantly, providing that the move is made at the appropriate time.

This is the reason why this variation grew in popularity so much over the years as it makes the game much more exciting by giving players a variety of moves to choose from. Moreover, when the game is played online they can take their time to make the best possible move for every hand without feeling pressured by the dealer or the rest of the participants on the table.

Also, playing online gives them the opportunity to enjoy Blackjack whenever and wherever they want which is great news for dedicated players who want to practise and improve their game.

Having more than one hand to deal with allows them to experience a whole new way of playing their favourite game and it gives them opportunities which they don’t have when playing the classic game. They can also reduce their chances of losing money by playing multiple hands at once. For instance, if they play four hands and two of them win, they will make up for the rest.

Disadvantages of Multi Hand Blackjack

On the other hand, one major drawback for card counters when multi-hand blackjack is played online is that it is simply not possible to apply their chosen system anymore. While the card counting process can be hard to conduct at brick-and-mortar casinos, it’s practically impossible online because after every hand is played, the cards in the shoe are shuffled. Card counters should take into consideration the fact they will be no longer capable of applying their system.

As already mentioned, by playing multiple hands, gamblers have the chance to make a better profit as they place different wagers on each one of them. However, this is a double-edged sword and as such, players can find themselves in a situation where they are losing more. It all depends on their choices. If they want to make this version work in their favour, it is compulsory to learn a reliable strategy on how to play more than one hand and make the needed adjustments at the table.

Not to mention the fact that if this variation is played in brick-and-mortar casinos, the chances that players can get confused are very high due to factors that directly influence their performance, such as the noisy casino setting.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that Multi Hand Blackjack can be very beneficial for the players on the condition that they take their time to observe its subtleties and specifications. It is a variation which allows them to make the game more interesting and fast-paced by playing more than one hand.

This version can be found in most online casinos which make it extremely convenient for players who like to play on the go. However, prior to playing online, it is essential to double check the rules in order to make sure that there aren’t any additional changes added which might favour the casino.